This was July

A bit late already for a July overview, but the reason why is explained in the first bullet point already. Since this is what July brought me:

  •  3 weeks in Normandy. Away from everything and everyone, in the woods, in between little villages. I’ll write a more elaborate post on that later on.

Normandië

  • 3 weeks of no internet and nearly no television. And that felt so good, that I postponed the going online a bit longer when we got back home. As for television, we don’t have cable at home anymore, to avoid just watching whatever is on. But we are addicted to quite a number of shows and we do tend to binge watch several episodes in a row. So our couch potato level can be rather high still. Not that I used all that no-watching time in Normandy to exercise. No, I was still a couch potato, but this time with a book.

Ouvrez les yeux

  • 4 books. I know that does not sound that impressive, but hey, 3 of those counted at least 800 pages. So yeah, I’m pretty proud of those 4 books.
  • 3 weeks with no makeup. After some kind of allergic reaction on my eyes before we left on holiday (and of which I still don’t know what the cause was), my skin was grateful. If I would have gone 3 weeks without coffee and cookies, my skin would most likely have been even more grateful, but alas. Less coffee (and that while I’m actually a tea person) and less cookies, brings me seamless to the next topic.
  • Resolutions. Inspired by the Flow holiday box. So yeah, I’m going to better my life. Again.

voornemens

  • A Dutch-speaking satnav trying to show us the way in France. Hilarious! Well, sometimes. Could be quite frustrating as well.
  • 1 lucky clover.

Klavertje vier

  • Seeds. Every piece of fruit I had was thoroughly dissected. And in between I also drew up a new plan for the vegetable garden. Taking into account rotation and everything. It’s only half finished, though. But if I get too organised, I scare myself.

Cavaillon zaadjes

  • One and a half sock. I needed a new knitting project, and it need to be compact. Socks it was.

Sok

  • When we came back home: 1 very red tomato, and 1 pumpkin plant that took over our facade garden and that’s already supporting a pumpkin.

Tomaat

Geveltuin

Pompoen

So, how did your July go? Lazy, or very intensive? At home, or far away?

This is my garden

It’s been a while since I last wrote about my trying to grow some vegetables. I was a bit ashamed to do so. Last time I wrote, I had planted a whole load of spinach, and so I wanted to show off with a picture of big spinach plants, and two Popeye-strong men in this house. But all that came out of it, was this. A few leaves of spinach, and a whole bunch of weeds.

Stadstuintje

I guess half-digested compost is not the way to go. Who would have guessed?

But hey, there’s some good news too. I toughened up, emptied the spinach pots, and started sowing again. With a little help from my little boy. Carrots. And beets. And would you look at that. Apart from some empty spaces, they are growing nicely.

Stadstuintje

On top of that, my mother in law also gave me some of the mini vegetable garden packages from the Albert Heijn supermarket. And, lucky bunny that I am, the first surprise garden contained savoy cabbage. Yay.

Fortunately, I got 3 of these mini gardens. And the other 2 contained some more colour: paprika and wild strawberry. (For the record, it’s not that I don’t eat savoy cabbage, it just reminds of school food).

In the meantime, all the mini gardens have been moved to a bigger pot. Unfortunately, there was a big shower right after, and not all of them survived.

The savoy cabbage is growing, slowly, but steadily.

Stadstuintje

The paprika has quite a way to go, but I’m a strong believer.

Stadstuintje

The wild strawberry… If you look closely, you can see 2 leaves there. They do look as if they have potential, no?

Stadstuintje

Last but not least, I also have 2 tomato plants. They were a gift from a friend, so I didn’t start them from scratch. But hey, now and then, one has to cheat.

Stadstuintje

And the rest of our city garden? Our compost now has a nice wall. It’ll probably flood soon, but in the meantime, it does look like the meanest heap in town.

Composthoop

The lawn needs mowing, but not doing it yet is my workout. The longer it gets, the harder I have to push the mower, so really, I’m investing in myself here.

Stadstuintje

The chairs are ready, waiting for the sun to burst through.

Stadstuintje

And that’s my little safe haven. What does yours look like? Do you want to share on instagram with the hashtag #thisismygarden?

More vegetable garden in the city

Last year I took part in the research by Compaan (then Con Brio) to find out whether or not it’s healthy to grow your own vegetables when you live in a city.

The radishes and spinach I planted back then, didn’t make it into a big success. I planted the radishes too closely together, so they looked more like teeny tiny carrots. The spinach got eaten by slugs.

With spring came the time to start sowing again. I took out pots and seeds and planted everything with plenty of space in between. Let’s avoid another radish disaster. Planted; spinach, rucola and beets. But I forgot to label what went where, and the pots have wheels, so I can’t remember what will come out where. Who said gardening can’t be thrilling?

Anyway. With spring and sowing season, I also received the results of the research. Turns out that vegetables grown in your city garden are just as healthy as the ones you buy in the shop. But don’t forget to wash them thoroughly! For more details about the results and for tips on how to grow vegetables in a city, go to www.lepetitbotanique.be (in Dutch).

How about you? Do you grow your own vegetables? And is that working, or are radish disasters like mine more common?

Spiderman

Spiders, I really don’t like them. And neither does my broad-shouldered brother. We can’t help it, it’s in our genes. Cognitive reflex, as inherited from our mother. She doesn’t like them either, you see. In fact, every encounter with one is accompanied by a big jump and a high-pitched scream.
Spider
It’s not always that obvious with that gorgeous indian summer we are having, but it’s autumn. In can tell by the large number of European garden spiders taking control of our tiny garden. One more and we can call it an invasion. So, I try to avoid the garden. I really, really can’t stand the feeling of spider webs in my hair. It reminds me too much of early jogging sessions along the river where I spent more time waving my arms in front of me than actually jogging. Unless a spider ended up in my hair, of course. Then I would have beaten Usain Bolt for sure.
Spider
No, I really don’t like them. My son, on the other hand, seems to have quite a big interest in them. We call him Nand without fear, not without reason. He wants to get as close to those spiders in the garden as possible, and, if possible, play a guitar solo on their webs. Which, of course, results in one scared spider running for its life, most likely in my direction. And when that happens, I try really hard not to scream, and not to run. I don’t want to be responsible for bringing up a Nand with aragnofobia. Up till now, I’m coping quite well. I just need to spend a tiny bit more on deodorant.
Spider

Vegetable garden in the city

Before summer, Con Brio, Labeur and the university of Ghent used gentblogt to look for inhabitants of Ghent who were willing to grow some lettuce in their garden, or on their roof. The goal? Find out if growing your own vegetables in the city is truely more healthy than just buying them in the shop.

But how? Well, it’s very simple. We got the box, the soil and the seeds for free. Free, I tell you! And the conditions?

  • Put a small filter in the box, so they can check what kind of filth gets into your lettuce through the rain.
  • Give the first 2 harvests back for research. Everything you harvest after that, you can use yourself.

Sold!

Moestuin
The first batch will be harvested the week that comes. In the meantime, we are closely watching how the lettuce is growing. It goes so quick! And we hardly have to do anything at all! Most of the effort went into planting the seeds. But you really have to do your best to make that last longer than 10 minutes. After that, it’s just about pulling some weeds and giving water (if there hasn’t been raining enough already). That I can manage.
Moestuin
Since our lettuce was growing so nicely and growing vegetables in boxes really is a piece of cake, hubby got going (even more). Inspired by the box we got, he used some leftover building materials (the perks of living on a construction site, endless!) to make 2 more boxes.
Moestuin
And to make them completely fancy, he also added some wheels. How cool is that?
Moestuin
In box 2, I planted radishes. Really quickly, before they realized it was already August and you’re not supposed to plant radishes after July. And would you look at that, it’s radish forest over here! I guess radishes aren’t what you call the sharpest tools in the shed, they’ll believe anything.
So, what have we learned so far? If the seed package mentions to sow thickly, you really don’t need to do that if you’re planting in a box. You can plant them just seed by seed, and not by the handsful, as Boes Boes does it. Because if you do, you’ll have to pull a large part of all those plants out again, so your radishes (or other vegetables) have enough room to grow. And growing plants just to pull them out again, that’s such a waste.
So now we wait, until we can harvest. And we’re hoping the results of the research will be positive, so we can keep on growing.
And what about box 3? Spinache, which I really need to plant. Before it’s September, and I need to lie to my spinache to convince it it’s still August. Because honestly, I do think spinache is a lot brighter than those gullible radishes!